Thermal cameras-what aren't they telling you?

Joined
Aug 29, 2018
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238
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Central US
I recently purchased an IR Thermal Camera. I wanted to share some images, and some thoughts about what's available, because there are almost zero reviews out there, and they all seem to gloss over something important.

And I suppose-this being the internet- that I need to disclose that I have absolutely no relationship with Seek Thermal, or any camera business or retailer, in any way, shape, or form. I'm just a guy who wanted a new toy, and IR cameras cropped up in one of the internet forums I read.

And so you don't have to read this whole thing, couple dozen sentences.. I'll disclose the detail I found that was hardly mentioned, and only in passing... Thermal cameras don't have very many pixels.

Let me give you some background. Back in 1999, I bought my first digital camera, thereby starting a very intense hobby. That camera had a whopping 1.2 million pixels. 1280 by 960 pixels. Typical full-size DSLR's now have 30 and up million pixels. Your phone probably has over 9 million pixels. The size and number of those pixels determine how tiny are the details that you see. Smaller, more numerous pixels give you the ability to see smaller details in the image, and to zoom-in if you desire.

In some cases, you may only need one pixel. "What!?" you exclaim? Yeah. If you have an IR 'gun' thermal device, it basically has one pixel. It reports the average temperature from a circular area on the surface of whatever you have pointed it at.

You'd think that thermal cameras would have millions, hell-at least 10's of thousands of pixels, right? Well some very expensive IR cams, from big-name companies, have 2,400. That's an array of just 80 x 60 pixels. That's not a lot of resolution. Sometimes, they overlay this temp data with a visible-light image, which fools you into thinking you see better thermal detail than you actually do. And every video broadcast you've seen does the exact same thing-to save on bandwidth.

So, anyway, the CompactPRO that I bought has 76,800 pixels - 320 x 240, and produces the images shown in the following link. I wasn't expecting this level of performance, I'm *very* pleased with it, and maybe this post will keep some of you from buying less than you might need.


imgurDOTcom/a/u1Xws35
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
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USA
I have a Seek CompactPro for iPhone. Pretty incredible, but I don’t use it much.

Here’s my unusual, but favorite use of it. You hear your cat barfing in the middle of the night but you don’t know where they’re doing it.

Take that thermal camera out, scan your carpet, and the tiniest little spots of moisture become super-obvious dark spots. Amazing. 😄
 
Joined
Jul 15, 2018
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illinois, usa
I have a Flir-IR adapter to an I-phone 5. It quite few uses at home like finding leaks around windows, doors, roofs. The best part is for looking at hot water pipes in the wall and see where they are located. In the cars, you can check the engine temperature, catalytic converter heat pattern and stuff like that!
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2017
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Under the Hood
I have a Seek CompactPro for iPhone. Pretty incredible, but I don’t use it much.

Here’s my unusual, but favorite use of it. You hear your cat barfing in the middle of the night but you don’t know where they’re doing it.

Take that thermal camera out, scan your carpet, and the tiniest little spots of moisture become super-obvious dark spots. Amazing. 😄
Another option: (not to change the subject),
If you want a really clean house, get an Ultra-violet Flashlight.
Be prepared for shock when you shine it in your bathroom.
 

bobdoo

Thread starter
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
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Central US
To bobdoo: Thanks for the tech alert. They are ALWAYS welcome.

Approximately how much was the CompactPRO you bought and did it have a model number?
You can find current pricing on amazon.

It is simply called the CompactPRO.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2014
Messages
799
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MN
I've got the Seek Reveal Pro, use it quite a bit as a contractor to find leaks and wiring. Mapped out my in floor heat with it and figured out how the guy plumbed it off the manifolds. It's a single zone house and it has 8 separate heat loops and no labeling on any of the valves.
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Messages
1,179
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New Zealand
The first one I used long ago was a FLIR Photon, it was 640x480 and cost around $25k. I was amazed that it could see footprints left from someone walking on a linoleum floor.
 
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